9 Individuals Staged Accidents in Nassau and Suffolk to Receive Insurance Money
Nine individuals were convicted for staging four automobile accidents in Nassau and Suffolk counties in order to receive money from insurance companies, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced on Nov. 18. The defendants colluded to rent U-Haul or Penske trucks and purposely hit cars with participants. The car passengers, who were also involved in the scheme, were instructed to go to medical centers to be treated for fake injuries.
Parker Waichman LLP has decades of experience representing automobile accident victims. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a car accident lawsuit.
According to LongIsland.com, the defendants pleaded guilty to staging the accidents and creating fictitious injuries in order to fraudulently receive insurance payouts. The incident resulted in $150,000 in fraudulent insurance claims.
“Insurance fraud costs all New Yorkers by distorting the marketplace and increasing premiums,” Attorney General Schneiderman said, according to LongIsland.com. “Anyone who thinks they will be able to get away with these types of fraudulent practices should think twice. As today’s convictions demonstrate, if you attempt to exploit the insurance system for personal gain, you will be punished.”
The defendants were charged by the Attorney General’s Auto Insurance Fraud Unit (AIFU) last year. The first staged accident was dated Oct. 30, 2010 when a U-Haul rear-ended a Mitsubishi at the intersection of Brook Avenue and Mildred Avenue in Bay Shore. The next staged incident, dated Dec. 19, 2010 occurred at the intersection of Patton Avenue and East Little Neck Road in Babylon; a U-Haul sideswiped a Chevrolet.
Two more staged accidents occurred in June 2011, the first at Straight Path Road in Suffolk where a Honda was rear-ended by a Penske truck on Jun. 16. The last incident, dated Jun. 29, 2011, involved a U-Haul rear-ending a Toyota at the intersection of Milburne Avenue and Harold Avenue in Hempstead.
Defendants Committed Insurance Fraud, AG Says
The convicted individuals tried to receive payments through the Comprehensive Motor Vehicle Insurance Reparations Act, also known as the No-Fault law. This automatically covers people injured in a car accident in New York State. This type of insurance coverage provides up to $50,000 for medical services related to the injury. Victims can also seek compensation from an insurance carrier for bodily injuries.
According to court documents, a ringleader organized the incidents by recruiting people to drive the trucks and be occupants in other vehicles. These individuals were allegedly promised compensation in cash or through personal injury settlements. According to LongIsland.com, these individuals were false in their reports to police and pretended the accidents were real.
The individuals were instructed to seek treatment at Freeport Medical in Valley Stream. The defendants allegedly filled out insurance forms documenting supposed soft tissue injuries. Each accident falsely billed insurance carriers for over $30,000. In total, the staged accidents fraudulently submitted $150,000 in insurance claims.
The driver of the rental trucks was sentenced to 1 ¾ to 3 ½ years in prison and $7,500 restitution. He pleaded guilty to one count of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree and two counts of Insurance Fraud in the Fourth Degree, Class “E” felonies.
The ringleader of the scheme was sentenced to 6 months in jail, 5 years’ probation, $28,000 in restitution, and 300 hours of community service. He was convicted of three counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree.
Parker Waichman comments that this type of insurance fraud undermines people who are real victims of a car accident, and wastes the time and resources of police officers, medical professionals, and insurers.
Auto Accident Lawsuit Questions
Our attorneys are available to answer questions you may have about filing a car accident lawsuit. The firm gives legal consultations free of cost, and individuals are under no obligation to pursue a case. Additionally, we work on a contingency fee; this means you do not pay an attorney’s fee unless we win your case.
We can answer questions about your rights, what type of evidence to document after an accident, and how to deal with insurance companies. For instance, we generally advise car accident victims to take photos of their injuries, the damage to the car, and the scene if possible. Providing medical records of your injuries will also strengthen your case. Additionally, getting contact information from eye witnesses can also be helpful.
Legal Help for Car Accident Victims
Parker Waichman has decades of experience representing car accident and other accident victims. If you or someone you know was injured in a car accident, you may have valuable legal rights. Our personal injury attorneys offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).